The Special Election in Congressional District 6 — now a run-off between Jon Ossoff and Karen Handel — highlights barriers folks face to voting. Rep. Scott Holcomb is working to address one of those big barriers: lack of early voting sites.
In a letter to the director of DeKalb County’s Voter Registration and Elections H. Maxine Daniels, Holcomb asks for DeKalb County to open an additional early voting site in the eastern portion of the district.
“For those who live in the State House District that I represent, neither the Dunwoody nor the Memorial Drive locations are convenient. And with the heightened traffic challenges that metro-Atlanta area is facing, the drive is even worse,” Holcomb wrote to Daniels.
— Jonathan Grant (@Brambleman) April 21, 2017
When early voting sites are difficult to access, it deters people from participating. During early voting in advance of the April 18 special election, there was initially only one early voting location, and it wasn’t even in the district. With a little bit of public pressure, a second location was opened in the district — in Dunwoody.
Neither location is particularly accessible to folks who live in the eastern portion of the 6th Congressional District, which extends through several north Atlanta suburbs. Holcomb asked that a third location be opened — either in Chamblee or Tucker.
Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst also offered a location in his city as another option.
“The lack of early voting sites suppressed votes south of Dunwoody, and we look forward to opening more,” he said in an interview with the AJC. “This is a nonpartisan issue. It’s about making it easier to vote at a time when people are going to be traveling.”
The election board will consider the request at their May 11th meeting.
The letter, in full, reads:
Dear Ms. Daniels,
I am writing to request an additional early voting location in DeKalb for the 6th Congressional District run-off. I am making this request based on my own experience and after hearing from constituents and leaders in the community. Specifically, I recommend that an early voting location be placed at either the Chamblee Civic Center or Tucker Recreation locations.
For those who live in the State House District that I represent, neither the Dunwoody nor the Memorial Drive locations are convenient. And with the heightened traffic challenges that metro-Atlanta area is facing, the drive is even worse. I cast an early ballot at Memorial Drive and it took considerable time to make the commute.
Therefore, I would urge the opening of an additional early voting location within the 6th Congressional District on the eastern side of the district (since Dunwoody covers the western side of the district). I believe this is a commonsense request that will make it easier for DeKalb’s citizens to vote.
Thank you for your consideration.